Four ways to measure authentic influence on social media

Influencer marketing

As influencer marketing continues to grow, it is more important than ever to understand the difference between someone with authentic influence and someone with a high follower count.

A large follower count, while important for mega or macro influencers and reaching large audiences, does not necessarily equal engagement. Influencers with lower follower counts tend to have higher levels of engagement with their audiences.

As a result, we are beginning to see a shift towards the use of micro (1–10,000 followers) and nano (10,000–50,000 followers) influencers, who are seen by their followers/audience as more authentic than their larger counterparts.

Depending on the goals for your brand, you may prefer using an influencer who has higher levels of engagement over reach, or vice versa.

Influencers are not just limited to Instagram but are present across a variety of platforms including Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Your brand needs to align with the type of influencers you aim to use. It does not make sense to partner with a fitness influencer if your brand focuses on gaming and technology.

Influencers need to be closely analysed and audited to ensure they align with your brand and reach your target audience. So, what actually makes someone an influencer?

The following are four ways authentic influencers stand out from the crowd

1. Expert knowledge

They have an expert level of knowledge or professional background on the subject matter. Authentic influencers who know what they are talking about and share educated, accurate and relevant information have a much more attractive offering to users wanting real information from a trusted source.

2. Creates behaviour change

Influencers that have the ability to evoke emotion and influence behaviour are the influencers your brand wants to work with.

Whether it be a fitness influencer motivating their audience to make a healthy breakfast smoothie or a travel influencer influencing a trip overseas, influencers who are seen to be authentic in their content are far more likely to evoke behaviour change in their audiences.

A good indication of this is when influencers share their follower’s posts that they have been tagged in.

3. Strong character/beliefs

Influencers have the ability to voice their thoughts and ideas to a large audience and often use their voices to comment on trending issues that are important to them. When done well and sensitively, influencers who make a stand or talk publicly about an issue create a deeper sense of authenticity and build trust with their audience.

4. Trusted source of information

Influencers must be a trusted source of reliable information on the topics they speak about. If an influencer does not have the trust of their audience, they are not going to influence their actions or behaviour.

It is critical to do your research when working with influencers as they need to be able to back their claims up if questioned.

Whether an influencer has 10,000 or 1,000,000 followers, if they are uneducated or inauthentic on the topics they choose to share with their followers, they are not going to create worthwhile engagement or influence change.

As the influencer marketing space continues to grow, it is more important than ever to understand the difference between someone who influencers change and someone who simply has a large following.


Read more on what makes an influencer.